Book Remainders

J.A. Konrath from A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing offers up an great post on book remainders, the unsold copies that publishers sell at a discount – the ones you find at discount bookstores. One of the downsides he lists as a “remaindered” author is:

Being in the bargain bin has a stigma that isn’t pleasant.

I must admit that way back when, I was one of those who frowned upon bargain books. Who wants a book that couldn’t sell at full price? There must be something wrong with the book! Obviously, these notions are entirely false. The reasons have more to do with the publishing business than the quality of the work.

I’ve since wizened up. In fact, during several biblioholic bouts, I’ve found many good remaindered books. One of the most fortunate finds was a hardback copy of (dare I say “SF Signal fanboy”?) John C. Wright’s The Golden Age. I’ve since gone on to buy and read the rest of that very worthwhile trilogy. As Konrath notes, I might not have found him through other means. (Let alone buying another mass-market copy of the first book and the Science Fiction Book Club omnibus of all three books. Hel-LO? Biblioholic here!)

Upon reflection, my initial stigma against remainders was due to ignorance. I just didn’t understand how it could could be possible that something worth buying could be offered at such a huge discount. That was my loss. But I’m debatably smarter now!

10 thoughts on “Book Remainders”

  1. I just saw a ton of Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys at a bargain bookstore for cut-rate prices. If he can show up there, anyone can.

  2. I’ve seen King, Clancy and many other “best sellers”. I’ve seen fiction, non-fiction. I’ve seen classics by deceased authors and authors who are still producing. No stigma. I’ll buy cheap books wherever I can get them: remainder bins, eBay, Powells.com, ABEBooks.com, wherever!

  3. Frankly, I love remaindered books. I buy a huge number of books via BookCloseouts.com, which is basically the Amazon equivalent for remaindered books. Some SF finds: Cory Doctorow, Nicola Griffith, Nancy Kress, Pat Cadigan, Bruce Sterling, Kelley Eskridge – and I could go on. I read a ton of general literary fiction, too, and haven’t been disappointed in that genre, either. Best of all, it means that most of the books I buy these days are under $5 (even for hardcovers).

  4. Items I remember seeing remainder locally, and not so, Sunshine mpb by Robin McKinley, Deerskin by R. McKinley, Gold Coast Trilogy by K. Stanley Robinson, Solitaire by Kelly Eskridge, a long time ago Wetware by Rudy Rucker. So one can tell certainley not much dreck.

  5. Hey I’ll take books as cheap as I can – I just bought a hardback copy of “Shadowmancer” from DollarTree! (where everything is a dollar!) I saw that book when it first came out and thought it sounded interesting – but never got around to reading. Now I have it waiting for me and it only cost me a buck!

    I’ll buy used books from Barnes and Noble.com, and routinely look through their bargain tables at the stores.

  6. dare I say “SF Signal fanboy” John C. Wright?

    I was going to say ‘I am not a fanboy!’ but it occures to me (1) that I know how to say that in Tolkien elfish, both Sindar and Quenya, not to mention variation of Angerthas runes, (2) but I have to get back to my online debate about why Hal Jordon is he only REAL Green Lantern. Except for John Stewart version drawn by Bruce Tim voiced by Phil LaMarr, who is pretty ichiban.

    You see, a fanboy would have an opinion on the crucial question of whether the Three Rings, forged in Ost-in-Ethil by Celebrimbor the Artificer, could overcome a Green Lantern Ring, created on Oa at the center of the cosmos after the Zammaranian exodus … but I cannot make up my mind. If Galadriel turned the leaves of Lothlorien to gold using Nenya, the ring of adamant, not only would Green Lantern’s ring be useless against that color, but the older version of Green Lantern, Alan Scott, would be powerless against the wood.

    Besides, I am an honest-to-goodness published SF writer. We only think about really importent, deep, and serious science fiction questions. Like, whether or not Logan’s claws could penetrate Steve Roger’s shield, or whether one of Asimov’s robots could kill a human host who had an Alien from the Aliens movie gestating inside him, in order to protect the rest of the human race.

  7. Thank goodness! For a moment I thought I was a fanboy.

    Now I have to get back to my endless online argument that if Tony Stark removed the magnetic electronics from Captain America’s shield, the delicate aerodynamic balance would be restored, and this would allow the Type II Vibranium in the alloy to resist even Wolverine’s best punch….

  8. Mr. Wright,

    I think you would be best served by acquiring the new Marvel Alliances video game when it comes out so you can test your theories about Captain America and Wolverine :)

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